Protesters greatly outnumbered public supporters at Olympic flag lighting ceremony in Vancouver. In the public viewing area the chants of the protesters drowned out the speakers for most of the ceremony. People chanted “Homes not Games,” “No Olympics on Stolen Native Lands,” and “No Justice, No Peace.”
Security for the event at city hall was tighter than at previous Olympic ceremonies and some commented this was an ominous indication of things to come for the city of Vancouver. Police and other security personnel ringed the entire two blocks and everyone who entered city hall grounds was supposed to be subjected to a search. Early on police turned away one person because he was wearing a bandanna. He was able to enter the grounds later.
When a large group of protesters arrived at the site the police initially tried to prevent them from entering the grounds. However, the crowd moved on to a different location where they overwhelmed the police and passed the perimeter. The police made a few more attempts to prevent protesters from reaching the fenced off area where the ceremony was to take place. But in the end all protesters were allowed to move freely about the public viewing area.
Speakers and others participating in the ceremony itself were kept behind two fences and two rows of police.
The ceremony itself seemed somewhat disorganized. There were long gaps in the program, speakers seemed distracted by the protesters and the flag lighting itself seemed rather anti-climatic.